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Renderings of Planned United Nations Tower Revealed

By Heather Holland | September 18, 2013 9:13am
 Construction of the United Nation building is expected to be completed by 2018, officials said.
U.N. Consolidation Building Renderings
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MURRAY HILL — The United Nations gave a first look this week at the skyscraper it plans to build on top of a Murray Hill playground, releasing renderings that show a translucent, 546-foot-tall tower.

The building, which still has to be approved by the city, would allow the U.N. to consolidate currently scattered operations into a single structure that would rise on the western portion of the Robert Moses Playground, on First Avenue between East 41st and 42nd streets.

"It's a single building, similar in height to the Secretariat," Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the U.N. Development Corporation, said in an email. "[It's] designed to be contextual to the existing U.N. campus."

If the building wins approval from the City Council and City Planning Commission, construction will begin in 2015 and finish in 2018.

The 800,000-to-900,000-square-foot tower designed by architect Fumihiko Maki and architecture firm FXFOWLE will contain office space for 2,700 U.N. employees on the upper floors and a cafeteria, communal spaces and bike storage on the lower levels, according to documents the U.N. submitted.

“The [building] will enhance the Midtown Manhattan skyline and compliment the architectural heritage of the U.N. Headquarters complex,” the project's draft environmental impact statement said.

The main entrance to the building will be located on First Avenue, at the southeast corner of East 42nd Street, and a second entrance will be placed mid-block on First Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets, documents show.

A tunnel beneath 42nd Street will connect the new tower to U.N. headquarters, so workers won't have to step outside to travel between the buildings.

In 2011, the city agreed to sell a portion of Robert Moses Playground to the United Nations Development Corporation so that the organization could build there.

In exchange, the city promised to convert Asser Levy Place into a park to make up for the lost open space.

In addition, the United Nations Development Corporation agreed to pay $73 million into a fund for open space in the neighborhood, including for the rehabilitation of the former Con Ed pier between 38th and 41st streets and an esplanade from 53rd to 60th streets.

The proposal for the new building will go through the city's land use review process hopefully starting later this year, Soffin said.

The U.N. Development Corporation will hold a public meeting on the project on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m., in the Farkas auditorium of NYU Langone Medical Center, located at 550 First Ave.